Free Chapter from “The Chase of the Golden Plates”

The Chase of the Golden Plates is a modern adaptation of a novel by Jacques Futrelle published in 1908 updating the story to 1933 and rewriting it in modern English and adding a new twist to the story. It begins:

Chapter 1 – It was THE Holiday event of 1933. Everyone who is anyone wanted to be there. Cardinal Richelieu and the Emperor of Japan stepped out on the balcony overlooking the entrance to Seven Oaks, lit their cigarettes and stood watching the party goers as they walked up the wide marble steps.

Here was an overweight Dowager Empress of China, there an Indian warrior in full war paint and feathered head dress and walking along behind him two giggling Geisha girls.

Next, wearing the robes of his rank, came the Czar of Russia.

The Emperor smiled.

“An old enemy of mine,” he remarked to the Cardinal.

A Shepherd girl in a wide-brimmed hat trimmed with flowers was helped out of a limo by Christopher Columbus and they came up the walk arm-in-arm, while a Mime in white face-paint ran beside them laughing in their faces. D’Artagnan, Athos, Aramis, and Porthos swaggered up next with their brassy, clanking swords.

“Ah!” exclaimed the Cardinal. “There are four gentlemen whom I know well.”

Mary Queen of Scots, Pocahontas, the Sultan of Turkey, and Jacob Marley were having a friendly chat when they entered. Behind them came a person who immediately got everyone’s attention. He was a Burglar, with a black flashlight in one hand and revolver in the other. A black mask covered his face, a droopy fedora shaded his eyes, and a set of burglar’s tools swung from one shoulder.

“Look at that would you” commented the Cardinal. “Now, that’s clever.”

“He looks like the real thing,” the Emperor added.

The Burglar stepped aside for a moment, allowing a diamond festooned Queen Elizabeth to walk by, then came up the steps. The Cardinal and the Emperor walked back into the reception-room to watch his arrival.

“Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth!” the stone-faced butler announced to the room.

The Burglar handed a card to the tuxedo clad Voice and noted, with obvious amusement, a momentary look of astonishment on the butler’s face. Maybe it was because the card had been given to him with the same hand which held the revolver. The Voice looked at the name on the card and breathed a deep sigh of relief.

“Bill, the Burglar!” he announced.

The crowd murmured in astonishment. And with curiosity. Quickly the Burglar became the center of attention, at least for a few minutes, causing the crowd around the ballroom to laugh, all be it quietly.

A clown came in next, jumping around behind him, which shifted the crowd’s attention, and the Burglar soon disappeared into the crowd.

To listen to or download Chapter 1 in its entirety, go to the Free Book / Story page

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